AutoCAD 2019 is here!
It is that time of year again. The time of the year Autodesk releases new versions of our favorite products. This year is no different with the announcement of AutoCAD 2019.
Usually, I say there is something for everyone but this year is a bit light on the new features. In addition, for those of us on AutoCAD Mechanical or AutoCAD Electrical, there are no new features outside the changes to AutoCAD.
However, for what isn’t new in the software can be made up from what’s new “in-the-box“. With the release of AutoCAD 2019, Autodesk announced One AutoCAD.
Only One. AutoCAD
“When you subscribe to AutoCAD you get access to industry-specific toolsets, greater mobility with web and mobile apps, and all the latest feature updates. AutoCAD now includes industry-specific features and libraries for architecture, mechanical design, electrical design, and more. “
With your singular subscription, you now receive AutoCAD, AutoCAD Architecture & MEP, AutoCAD Mechanical, AutoCAD Electrical, AutoCAD Map 3D, and Autodesk Plant all “in-the-box”.
The various products remain as separate installs. The good news is you install only the products you want to use. The bad news, you need to install and configure multiple products. I hope over the next year or two Autodesk starts pushing these into a singular product. No easy undertaking. It would be more efficient for the user if Autodesk was to merge or remove the duplicate-overlapping-redundant features. The user should pick the toolset by choosing the workspace, not by switching to a different product.
In addition to the multiple toolsets, your subscription to AutoCAD provides access to the new AutoCAD web and mobile apps. These apps provide “fast, seamless access to DWG files wherever you are, from virtually any device. ” The new AutoCAD web app provides the ability to work with your drawings directly within a web browser. This includes viewing, creating, and editing drawings in a simplified interface. Nothing to install, nothing to download, just go to the website and login with your Autodesk Account.
Why am I starting this review by talking about the mid-year AutoCAD 2018 release (2018.1)? Because it encompasses a majority of the new and improved features in AutoCAD 2019. So if you are on subscription, applied 2018.1, you already have experienced about half of the new features in AutoCAD 2019.
You can read more in my review of 2018.1, but here is a quick summary of the feature enhancements:
- Xref Layer Property Enhancements
- Views and Viewport Updates
- High Resolution (4k) Monitor Support Changes
- Graphics Performance Improvements
AutoCAD 2019 introduces a new flat design, noticeable by the visual appearance of the icons. This new design provides a better visual experience, especially on high-resolution monitors.
In addition to the new flat design, AutoCAD also now loads different sized icons based on the monitor resolution. This means the size of the icons will fit appropriately to your monitor resolution.
The AutoCAD 2018 mid-year release (2018.1) and AutoCAD 2019 updates over 200 dialogs and other interface elements to provide the best viewing experience on 4k displays (and higher).
Autodesk continually improves the performance in AutoCAD, and 2019 is no different. AutoCAD 2019 streamlines the operations that require 2D graphics to be redrawn or regenerated. This provides performance improvements, especially with features including draw order, zooming, panning, and adjusting layer properties. This will be most noticeable in large drawings or drawings with raster images. The 3D graphics performance when using the Wireframe, Realistic, and Shaded visual styles is improved significantly.
There are two new features within AutoCAD 2019 that I have already used extensively. The first is DWG Compare, the other is Shared Views.
Use the new Drawing Compare to find the differences between two drawings. AutoCAD visually highlights the differences, making it easy to find these differences.
With the two drawings specified, select Compare to start the process. AutoCAD generates a third drawing to display the comparison. AutoCAD categorizes the objects into three types: objects only in the first drawing, objects only in the second drawing, and those common to both drawings. Use the contextual Compare ribbon tab to manage the appearance of the comparison results, including the visibility, color, and draw order of any of the three categories of objects.
Use the Drawing Information to review details about the two compared drawings. Copy this information to the clipboard for use in other documents or use the Insert in the Drawing to insert a table with the drawing information.
AutoCAD groups the differences into change sets. The margin represents the extra space around the bounding box of the individual difference objects. When the difference object, plus the margin, overlaps, AutoCAD groups them into a singular change set. Decreasing the margin separates the objects, resulting in more change sets.
Shared Views piggyback on A360 and the Autodesk Viewer. I love the Autodesk Viewer as it’s a great tool for anyone to view drawings and models. Best part, it is all from a browser, meaning no software to install. If you haven’t tried it, you need to.
Shared Views within AutoCAD 2019 extend access, providing the ability to share your drawings with others. This new feature extracts the viewable data from the drawing and pushes it to the cloud. You are not sharing the drawing itself, but a viewable representation.
With the publish complete, AutoCAD generates a shareable link. Send this link to who you want to share the drawing. The collaborator, the one you are sharing the view with, does not require AutoCAD to view the drawing, as they view it within a browser using the Autodesk Viewer. The Shared View is accessible on any web-enabled device, whether a desktop, tablet, or mobile device (smartphone).
While accessing Shared Views, the collaborator can view, review, measure, comment, and markup on the drawing. The comments and markups added are accessible within AutoCAD in the new Shared Views palette. So, as the designer, you can collaborate with others and never leave AutoCAD!
I haven’t had much time to use the new web-version of AutoCAD. I’ll reserve comment until I have more hours using it.
One cannot forget the inclusion of the other AutoCAD flavours. Most users will not utilize every product included, but this does provide flexibility. Use the right-AutoCAD, for the right situation.
AutoCAD 2019 is light on new features. The enhancements are mostly limited to what was previously made available to subscription customers via the mid-year release for AutoCAD 2018. However, if you are like me, you’ll find that using the new DWG Compare and Shared Views features make it worth the upgrade. Dump on top the performance improvements and you have a winner-winner.